Community transfer students could soon see an associate degree

Robert Carroll

Students who attended a community college and transferred to a public four-year university, including transfer students at Kent State, may soon be awarded an associate degree for the coursework completed at the community college.

The Ohio Board of Regents, an organization that monitors higher education in Ohio, recently launched a new initiative in the “Credit When it’s Due” program.

“Credit When it’s Due” is grant and program that allows community colleges and public universities to work together in awarding associate degrees to students who have transferred to the public university, and demonstrated appropriate requirements for an associate degree, according to the Lumina Foundation website.

The Lumina Foundation awarded the $500,000 grant to the Board of Regent to assist with awarding associate degrees to eligible students who successfully completed the coursework necessary to attain the degree, from the community college and four-year university, said Jeff Robinson, communications director at the Ohio Board of Regents.

“While the students are working toward their bachelor degree at the 4-year university, we would like to reward them for their previous work at the community college and four-year university combined,” Robinson said. “We hope this will provide motivation to the students to achieve that 4-year degree, knowing they have an associates degree already.”

Robinson also touched on how it would affect students across Ohio.

“We hope this will help to show the importance of community colleges across Ohio, and reward students for previous education,” said Robinson. “We are in the process of selecting the students now.”

Wanda Thomas, associate provost and dean of the Regional College, explained how the Board sends a list to Kent State of who is eligible for the degree.

“The Board of Regents sends us a list of the students who have earned 20 or more credit hours at the community college they attended and that were not awarded an associates degree,” Thomas said. “Then we look at what the student has done at Kent State, and if they have 60 or more credit hours [combined between community college and university], we notify the student of their eligibility.”

Thomas said Kent State as a university and Kent State-Stark as a two-year program will be participating in the program. There are ultimately two options for Kent State students once they have been notified by email of their eligibility.

“The students can either choose to have their degree awarded from Kent State University, or do a reverse-transfer and have their records sent back to the community college for the degree,” Thomas said. “90-percent have chosen to have the degree awarded from Kent State University rather than do a reverse transfer.”

Thomas said that if students are not eligible, but close to it, they will notify the student of what they can do to achieve the associate degree award.

“The national intent is to try to award degrees to students who may not even know they are eligible for a degree at all,” Thomas said. She said students can contact her at [email protected] if they would like to get their associate degree from Kent State.

Contact Robert Carroll at [email protected].